Tag - appliance parts

Business Not As Usual

What’s Next for Repair Service Following COVID-19

 After enduring weeks of “stay-at-home” orders to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, most states are reopening businesses previously deemed non-essential. However, with the virus still circulating and causing severe illness and death, business is anything but usual.

Personal protection items like masks and gloves have become standard issue for restaurants, hair salons and other industries where personal contact with customers is the norm. The same goes for service providers who must enter homes to make repairs and interact with customers.

As we continue emerging from this unprecedented event, the long-term impact on the service repair industry is still yet to be realized. Some repair businesses have been forced to shut down permanently. With time on their hands and access to a wealth of “how to” videos online, there has been a sharp increase in consumer DIY repairs.

Adding to the mix of factors driving DIY repairs is an unemployment rate rivaling percentages not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Retail stores are slowly opening across the country, but some powerhouse brands such as J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy in the midst of the crisis. Industry projections for major appliance and electronics production and sales have dropped for at least the remainder of 2020.

Still, despite this challenging market environment, there is considerable opportunity for service businesses. Numerous complex repairs are way beyond the basic capabilities of a general DIY consumer. Anything to do with electrical wiring and circuitry, for example, is best left to the professionals.

In a down economy, demand for repair typically surges as consumers put off replacing big ticket household items. Plus, as restaurants closed and now operate in some states with capacity restrictions, consumers have been using their major kitchen appliances more than ever, raising the risk of breakdowns. Consumer need for professional repair service could ultimately outpace the availability of service providers – and perhaps enable higher rate charges. However, with decreased model production comes decreased parts production so it may become harder to find some necessary repair components.

Some repair providers have rapidly adjusted to the new normal and are getting creative with such service offerings as virtual estimates and troubleshooting that limit customer contact.  Contactless measures are likely to continue – and expand – even after the current pandemic abates.

If nothing else, COVID-19 has been a dramatic wakeup call to the world and the repair industry. And if the experts are correct, this is not the last time the world will face a similarly impactful pandemic.  Businesses must evaluate their existing response strategy and develop best practices for managing through the next crisis. Those able to adapt under the most challenging conditions will survive, and even thrive, while others risk becoming just another impact statistic.

Encompass Response to Coronavirus

Updated April 21, 2020

Message from Encompass President & CEO Robert Coolidge

Encompass has been closely monitoring the global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic since it first originated in China. Our heartfelt condolences are with all those who have been sickened and died from this terrible illness. Please click here for a helpful pamphlet on Preventing the Spread of Respiratory Diseases from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Internal Response

Although all Encompass facilities are operating regular schedules, we have taken several precautions for the health and well-being of both our associates and business partners. We are following all government guidance and mandates to help contain the pandemic. Some measures we have taken include:

  • Office staff are telecommuting until further notice. Encompass is equipped with cloud-based systems, ensuring continuous communications both internally and with our customers. 
  • Essential on-site staff are required to wear masks and gloves and are also being provided antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer at work stations and common areas. More importantly, they are mandated to frequently wash hands.
  • Staff travel is restricted.

Parts Supply Continuity

Due to the expected closings of factories during the January Chinese New Year, our Purchasing team had procured safety stock for the select brands for which we source directly overseas. At this time, highest demand parts remain in stock across multiple product verticals, including Home Appliance and Consumer Electronics. However, the team is in daily contact with manufacturers to identify any supply disruptions so we can then communicate with our customers.

Encompass has no immediate plans to close facilities and will continue to follow standard preventative guidelines to address the current situation.

Counter Sales Reopened

With additional safety measures in place, counter sales/order pickup has resumed at all locations. The counters at our Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas distribution centers will be open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4pm. To limit contact, we request that customers first place orders on encompass.com prior to coming to the facility, if possible.

Help for Customers

Encompass is here for you! If we can be of any assistance, please let us know: customercare@encompass.com.  Have you taken advantage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)?  CARES enables small businesses and contract workers to obtain a variety of loans to maintain operations and prevent layoffs during this unprecedented crisis. Tax advantages are also available.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Encompass will continue to update this company response statement as conditions warrant to keep you informed.

Robert Coolidge
President & CEO

 

 

Planning for Unexpected Supply Chain Disruptions

 Hurricanes in the Southeast. Blizzards in the Northeast. Tornadoes in the Midwest. Earthquakes and fires in the West. Natural disasters occur often and mostly without time for planning. Major transportation carriers and routes are usually impacted, which has an immediate, but mostly brief, effect on supply chain continuity.

But what about supply chain disruptions occurring continents away? As the world’s largest manufacturing country, China plays an extremely important role in U.S. commerce. When something momentous happens – like the coronavirus (or COVID-19) or the once looming trade war with the U.S. – effects typically domino across the globe.

Although it’s still somewhat early days, the COVID-19 crisis is already having a major impact on global trade and logistics with Chinese factory closings, workforce quarantines and transportation disruptions. The electronics industry is at particular risk with Shenzhen, a major hub of electronics and parts manufacturing, located about 700 miles from the epicenter of the virus outbreak. While some manufacturing factories have reopened, thousands of workers remain under quarantine or otherwise unable to travel to work.

The situation is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the initial outbreak coincided with the Chinese New Year during which most businesses shut down for about 10 days. Distributors like Encompass typically anticipate this downtime and plan accordingly to purchase extra safety stock. The question becomes whether the additional inventory will keep pace with demand until business returns to normal in China.

Current fulfillment lead times from Chinese factories are 30 days or more, so even the slightest delays could significantly affect supply and complicate purchasing strategies. What can supply chain managers do to try to limit the impact of global supply chain challenges – particularly those affecting the world’s largest manufacturing cluster? This is probably one of the hottest topics of discussion occurring in U.S. board rooms and purchasing departments across the country.

Whether your business is directly affected or not by the current crisis, it’s still an opportunity to review your purchasing strategy. Identify any weaknesses and determine contingencies as part of your overall purchasing strategy going forward. Here are some areas of consideration:

  • Sourcing Partners – Are all your supply sources in one basket – be it a single factory or geographic region? Assess the impact level to your business and customers of any unexpected, potentially lengthy supply disruptions from this source. Just like your financial portfolio, diversification is good. Consider alternatives for a backup supply pipeline in a different geographic area to help mitigate the risk of being cut off from your primary source without warning. For repair service businesses, this can be as simple as establishing accounts with multiple parts vendors for seamless transition if ever necessary. 
  • Safety Stock – Do you stock enough inventory to meet demand for an extended period of time? While purchasing managers are constantly pressured to keep inventory turning, it may be worth stocking at least some high-demand SKUs beyond ordinary levels — particularly if your business is at risk from limited supply sources.
  • Business Continuity Plan – Many business continuity plans are focused internally on steps a company will take to recover from its own unforeseen events. Downstream disruptions in the supply chain should be included in your overall business continuity strategy.  And put the onus on your sourcing partners to provide their detailed plan for business recovery.

While the U.S. and China have reached a trade agreement and COVID-19 is likely to be contained sooner than later, the risk of future impactful events remains as certain as ever.  Don’t forget COVID-19 is not without precedence; in the early 2000s it was the SARS epidemic wreaking havoc on global trade. Sadly, chances are pretty good this isn’t the last time we’ll be dealing with supply chain disruptions, but ensuring you have a Plan B should help minimize harmful consequences to your business and customers.

Regardless of any business impact, we can’t forget that at the core of this epidemic are human lives. Compared to so many people dying, delays in receiving the next generation smart phone seem meaningless.  Above all, we should be focusing on joining together to help all those affected through this horrific ordeal.

Encompass Opening New Facility in Greater Atlanta Area to Accommodate Record Business Growth  

Lawrenceville, Ga., February 3, 2020Encompass Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of replacement parts and supply chain services for a diverse range of product brands, today announced it is relocating its Service Operations group to help manage significant expansion within its repair parts business.

Encompass Service Operations, which comprises reverse logistics and depot repair functions, will move from Encompass’ headquarters and flagship warehouse and distribution center In the Greater Atlanta area to a new facility less than five miles away. The group mainly performs depot repairs on a variety of electronics on behalf of major retailers, manufacturers and extended warranty providers,  as well as manages several reverse logistics programs.

The new site – 3105 Sweetwater Road, Lawrenceville, Ga. – is expected to be open within the next 30 days and augments Encompass’ other distribution centers in Florida and Nevada.

“Encompass has been experiencing record transaction growth over the past three years driven largely by our diverse parts business, exclusive supply chain programs, and certain core customer segments that are unique to Encompass,” said Encompass President and CEO Robert Coolidge. “Moving the depot repair operation will free up space in our primary distribution facility needed to further increase our efficiency and productivity.”

Coolidge said the Service group will still have ready access to repair parts since the new location is only minutes away.

“This is an ideal solution to meet our space needs while still maintaining strong support to both Service and parts customers.”

About Encompass Supply Chain Solutions, Inc.

Formed in 1953, Encompass is one of the country’s largest suppliers of repair parts and accessories for products throughout the home. Encompass also offers complete parts supply chain management, 3PL, depot repair and reverse logistics service. In addition to consumers, we support an array of B2B customers, including manufacturers, multi-family property management, warranty providers, service networks, independent dealers and retailers.

For more information, please visit solutions.encompass.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

CONTACT: Kristin Hurst, Director of Marketing & Communications